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I wanted to share my story so I can connect with other women who are living with PCOS and trying to be proactive about preventing the potential long term complications of this syndrome.
After being on a combined hormonal birth control pill for about 6 years I decided I wanted to come off of it and let my body do its thing, find out what my natural cycle is, etc. I’ve always felt as though I had a hormonal imbalance, but the pill kept my periods regular and my symptoms minimal. After I went off of the pill in July 2020, I noticed an immediate improvement in my libido. I also noticed worsening facial/body hair and acne around my mouth and jaw. After a few months my libido also declined and each month my period got a little farther apart. My first cycle off the pill was 37 days and my most recent cycle was 49 days (prior to the pill a 31 day cycle was normal for me). For these reasons, I requested that my doctor test my hormones.
I was not surprised when my total testosterone level was 107 (Normal being 2-45). I followed up with my OBGYN and received a diagnosis of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS for short.
PCOS is a fairly common hormonal disorder that is characterized by high androgens (hormones that are more prevalent in males such as testosterone). My doctor did a great job of explaining the diagnosis and assuring me that my fertility will not suffer as long as I seek medical supervision when I decide to conceive.
I am more concerned about the potential long term effects of having such high testosterone in my system. PCOS puts me at higher risk of conditions like insulin resistance, Type 2 Diabetes, uterine cancer, obesity, and stroke. My doctor was so thorough and supportive, but she did not seem to believe that there was anything I could try to balance out my hormones other than exercise, weight loss, and a hormonal birth control pill if I chose to go that route.
I am looking to connect with women who have experience with hormonal imbalances and PCOS. What have you read? What have you tried? Has anything worked for you?